I may have just written about 20 of the most delicious Valentine’s food gifts that go beyond a box of chocolates, but that doesn’t mean I don’t also want my own box of beautiful and delicious chocolates for Valentine’s Day. But not just any box of chocolates. We always love sharing treats with gorgeous design and unique flavors from those small makers who are elevating the craft of chocolate-making well beyond the typical.
And as we are recognizing Black History Month now, right along with Valentine’s Day, I’ve found some wonderful Black chocolatiers who are making history in their own rights: through entrepreneurship that helps create more racial and economic justice through…chocolate.
Exquisite, creative, delicious chocolate.
Heart-Shaped Valentine Cocoa Bombs from Cocoa Belle
While I may have Valentine’s Day on the mind right this moment, let’s be honest: Chocolate has no season. And since Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and really hard Mondays are also perfect times for chocolate, I hope you’ll keep this list of smaller, Black-owned chocolatiers in mind whenever you need a perfect gift.
Or a chocolate fix of your own.
Extraordinary Black-Owned Chocolate Companies You Should Know About
Memphis, TN: Phillip Ashley Chocolates
Personally, I would love to get a box of wine-and-spirts infused Love Drunk Hearts ($75) which comes packaged in such a uniquely illustrated hearted-shaped box. It includes 13 sophisticated flavors like Blood Orange Tequila Creamsicle, XO Cognac Dark Truffle, and Strawberry Champagne, all enrobed inside color-spattered chocolate hearts.
Or if you have a soft spot for all things Memphis, Phillip Ashley Chocolates offers a colorful Taste of Memphis box, featuring jewel-colored chocolates with a southern twist. Think flavors like Banana Pudding, BBQ, Collards and Cornbread (yes, really!), and Maple Bacon Pecan Praline. Unique, wonderful, and cheaper than a plane ticket to Memphis. Though I’d take that too
Accra, Ghana: Midunu Chocolates
Our editor Liz has been raving about these beautiful truffles she sampled from woman-owned Midunu Chocolates which taste as amazing as they look. I love that they are handcrafted in Ghana from cocoa beans grown on local farms, using locally sourced ingredients then expertly crafted by a team of women chocolatiers. Plus they ship from the US, so yes, they’re fast and fresh.
Clearly chocolatier Selassie Atadika (shown at very top) is living her values through her company, combining her extensive background in UN humanitarian work and her love for her home country, with her extensive culinary arts skills.
The look of each piece represents the “vast patchwork of Africa’s culinary heritage,” and each colorful chocolate is flavored with complex spice blends and African regional teas, then named for a different African woman. I love that each chocolate offers up a new flavor profile unlike anything I’ve had before. (starting at $24 for 6 truffles)
Dallas, TX: Chocolate Secrets
The only thing secret about the boxes of chocolates from Pam G Eudaric’s Dallas-based Chocolate Secrets is where I’m going to hide the box if I get one of these for Valentine’s Day!
I’m drooling over the variety of flavors in each hand-painted confection, like Brown Butter Caramel, Turkish Coffee, Coconut Lime, and Strawberry Balsamic. And if you order The Valentine’s Chocolate Assortment ($90) just look at those red chocolate lips!
Want something with a little more…kick? Their new wooden boxes are filled with barrel-aged, handcrafted chocolate bonbons ($74) and flavored with such spirits as Macallan 18 Year Old Triple Cask Matured Whisky, Casa Dragones Tequila, or one of six other liquors. Great grown-up treat you won’t need to share with the kids.
If you live near Dallas, The Chocolate Secrets wine shop and cafe looks like a great spot to hear some live music or listen to a local speaker while indulging a bit. My kind of night out.
Little Rock, Arkansas: Cocoa Belle Chocolates
After living and traveling in Europe, Cocoa Belle Chocolates founder Carmen Portillo returned home to Little Rock with a new appreciation for the chocolates she discovered in London and Paris. But unlike me, who would just dream about my culinary adventures, she — along with her partner Priscilla Williams — became the first two Certified Professional Chocolatiers in the state of Arkansas so they could recreate those delicious treats for others. Wow!
Their limited-edition Valentine’s chocolate collection ($25-60) offers a cool mix of textures, shapes, and flavors; Strawberry Champagne gets its “bubbles’ from pop-rock candies, and Raspberry Port has a healthy dose of Sandeman Ruby Port wine in the center.
Seattle, WA: Hot Chocolat
These beautiful artisan chocolates from Black-owned chocolate company Hot Chocolat in Seattle come with the best backstory: Chocolatier Michael D. Poole began his career as a firefighter and firehouse cook, who then took a detour to attend Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, before opening up his own chocolate-making business. Wow. Today he’s the culinary whiz behind chocolate gifts like the shiny, colorful assortment of hearts for Valentine’s Day ($50/11 piece box).
They come in some outrageously good flavor combinations like White Chocolate Lemon Meringue, Dark Chocolate Green Tea Matcha, and Mango Habanero Caramel.
Another gift idea if you live near Seattle is his chocolate-making classes or macaron-making classes. They get amazing reviews and it would make for a fun date night. Plus, you get to go home with a bag of handmade treats. What a perfect IOU gift for Valentine’s Day, a birthday or anything, really.
Still more Black-owned chocolate businesses to check out
The above five chocolatiers feature some of my favorite just-for-Valentine’s Day chocolate assortments, but don’t miss some of these other Black-owned chocolate companies, who are dedicated to creating incredibly special chocolate treats all year long.
Patrick Ali Glanville via @3SomeChocolates
Harlem, NY: Harlem Chocolate Factory
Called one of Oprah’s Favorite Things and named on soooo many lists of the best chocolate shops anywhere, Harlem Chocolate Factory’s bonbon boxes are flat-out sold out for Valentine’s Day early. No surprise! Check back for truffles in flavors like Rose Champagne, Red Velvet, First Night on Lenox (made with dark chocolate, peach caramel, and smoked peach jam) — even one featuring Uncle Nearest Whiskey.
Mt. Vernon, NY: 3 Some Chocolates
Patrick Ali Glanville, in his own words, was sick of getting fired and being underpaid, so he didn’t get mad — he and his wife Kristin Parker started 3 Some Chocolates in 2019, using the chocolate-making skills he had gained as a kid with his grandmother. Wow. Yes, the name is saucy, but it’s also a reference to the blend of dark, milk, and white chocolates in his trademark gourmet chocolate bars. There’s a lot to love there though.
Bronx, NY (by way of Chicago): My Chocolate Soul
Ramona Thomas is the award-winning, highly trained chocolatier behind My Chocolate Soul. She’s gained a huge fan base elevating traditional favorites like turtles (mmm….turtles), almond crunch, and chocolate bark using all-natural, premium ingredients. And of course, she offers small-batch chocolate assortments with crowd-pleasing flavors from salted caramel to lemon-basil.
Framingham, MA: Chocolate Therapy
A local favorite in my neck of the woods for more than ten years, their spectacular hand-crafted truffles come courtesy of the talented husband-and-wife team, Pam and David Griffin. Their innovative flavors are often inspired by ingredients with therapeutic properties, including dark chocolate, olive oil, and rich-in-antioxidant blueberries. So can we call it health food? Sure! Oh, another cool gift: They offer a virtual chocolate-tasting journey. They’ll ship a kit to your door, and you can join them live on Zoom for a guaranteed fun hour of exploring it all.
Ouanaminth, Haiti: Askanya Chocolates
Don’t sleep on this Black-owned chocolatier, named the best chocolate gifts for Valentine’s Day by Condé Nast Traveler! Their signature chocolate bars are all made in Haiti with local ingredients that have been ethically sourced from local farmers then handcrafted exclusively by women. While they focus on bars and not truffle assortments, their signature chocolate collection gift box gives you a good sense of the simplicity and quality that’s in store for you.